Make Your Holiday Season Greener
Engage in Earth-Friendly Giving, Entertaining This Year
Along with good holiday cheer comes a lot of extra waste: Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s as compared to any other time of the year. The extra waste amounts to about 1 million extra tons per week.
“The packaging from gifts, food waste from the large meal preparations and decorations from parties really start to add up,” said Jerry Hardebeck, Director of Public Sector Services for Waste Management of the Washington. “If each of us tried a few waste reduction efforts, we would see a significant positive impact during the holidays and subsequent weeks.”
Here are a number of ways to make this holiday season greener:
- Consider giving no-waste gifts, such as music or sports lessons, memberships to a gym, symphony or museum, favors like babysitting or tickets to a sporting event or concert. There are also many products made from recycled content that make great gifts; be sure to buy durable, reusable products that will last a long time.
- When packaging gifts, consider reduced or no-waste wrapping options. Put a large, reusable bow on the gift; place the gift in a reusable bag such as a backpack or purse; or package small, themed gifts in a larger item - such as plates or table service inside placemats or a tablecloth or kitchen utensils in an apron or decorative dishtowel.
- Make your own wrapping paper by using pages from the newspaper or magazines, decorating paper shopping bags or cutting pieces from maps or posters. Recycled-content wrapping paper is also available. Save bags and bows to use on future gifts.
- If you are attending a party or dinner and are bringing a dish for the meal or an edible gift for the host, be sure to package it in a reusable container. If the item is a gift, place it on a decorative holiday plate, in a washable kitchen container or wrap it with a holiday towel.
- Send holiday greetings via e-mail - it’s a great way to share photos and keep in touch more frequently. If you send cards in the mail, make them with last year’s cards or wrapping paper.
- When entertaining, use washable utensils, plates, glasses, napkins and table coverings. Decorate with plants (that your guests may take home and plant in their yards as a commemoration of the holiday celebration) or candles. Be sure to have containers available where your guests can put recyclable cans and bottles. If you have leftover food, send it home with your guests in reusable containers or donate it to a local homeless shelter.
- Take advantage of food waste recycling services where they are offered.
- If you have a Christmas tree, garland or wreaths, be sure to recycle them when the holidays are over. Waste Management collects Christmas trees from its residential customers. Be sure the tree is cut into three-foot sections and remove any tree stands, nails, tinsel and decorations. Next year, consider an artificial tree or a live tree that can be planted after the holidays.
- If you receive new items that will replace current possessions, donate them to a local charity.
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